52 Shades of Greed

Art directed by two New York-based illustrators, a freshly designed set of 52 illustrated playing cards looks to educate the masses about some of the main contributing factors in the US to the current recession…

Art directed by two New York-based illustrators, a freshly designed set of 52 illustrated playing cards looks to educate the masses about some of the main contributing factors in the US to the current recession…

Just a few weeks ago, New York-based illustrator Marc Scheff was approached by a member of Occupy Wall Street‘s Alternative Banking group and asked to illustrate some of the people, institutions, and wider bad banking practices responsible for causing the recession.

Scheff roped in regular collaborator and fellow illustrator Daniel Nyari and the two of them decided to create a full deck of 52 playing cards for the project, inviting 26 other illustrators – including Jess Worby, Jon Burgerman, Mikkel Sommer and Steve Simpson –  to contribute to the project with only a week to submit their work. The result is the 52 Shades of Greed pack of playing cards.

The idea was not simply to name and shame some of the big players in US banking and government that ultimately failed to protect the interests of homeowners and borrowers – but to highlight a catalouge of failures and wrong-doings that conspired to cause the collapse of the economy.

by Stephanie F. Scholz

by Alex Fine

by Denman Rooke

by Mikkel Sommer

by Jess Worby

by PJ McQuade

by Kyle Smart

by Steve Simpson

Whilst the deck of cards is now designed, Scheff is hoping to raise the money to actually print them up so the packs can be given out on the street for free on September 17, the one year anniversary of the first US occupy gathering in New York, and in the following weeks.

“While occupiers are no longer in the park, they are hard at work figuring out how to use people-power to hold big time finance guys and institutions accountable for the mess they have caused,” says Scheff. “We think the cards will be a great way to bring people into the issues. For example, do you know what a CDO is, or how the banks are using it to continue subprime lending? Well, you should, and the information in this deck of cards and on our site will help. Especially as we come up to an election, these issues are very salient.”

For more information about the fundraising project to produce the deck, visit rockethub.com/projects/10224-52-shades-of-greed.

See the full list of contributing artists at 52shadesofgreed.com.


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  • DB

    “to educate the masses” – wow, thanks guys
    thank heavens for sweeping statements and edgy graphics
    if anything’s going to save the global economy, it’s probably projects like this

  • Really interesting way to bring to light the corruption and greed that plagues our country today. It is actually a great way to promote awareness by handing them out for free. I’m probably going to support.

  • This is amazing & brave, I’d like to see their faces reading this

  • Im supportive of the idea to educate the public on the complexities of corruption in banking. But does a playing cards set and 50 shades reference hit the mark?

  • Why don’t they produce and sell them as digital email-able post cards, and printed postcards that people can do mass postings to the main players and institutions.

  • Yes, very nice overview. I like the use of visuals to help paint the picture. I’m sure there are also plenty of additional cards that can be added for supporting roles in our mortgage crises and the problems with our banks.

  • I just bought the 52 Shades deck ($30) and want to show it to the older grand kids. Maybe the lessons will sink in to their iPad addled brains. In any event they’ll enjoy the artwork.